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Spectrum of Processes

There is a spectrum of dispute resolution processes, ranging from informal discussion to formal adjudication. The concept behind the development of alternative dispute resolution, or "ADR" is that the traditionaladjudicatory model of dispute resolution is not always the best approach. Rather, the concept has developed that "the forum should fit the fuss,"and not vice versa.  

With time, ADR has come to have a new meaning, "appropriate dispute resolution." In light of the rapid growth of collaborative negotiation, mediation and other settlement processes, there is, in fact, nothing alternative at all about ADR today.

We are finding collaborative negotiation and mediation processes adopted with increasing frequency in legal, governmental, business and family matters.

There are no limits to the types of dispute resolution processes that can be utilized. When it comes to settlement processing, "anything goes," both in terms of the process of reaching resolution and content of any resolution. The only key is that the parties (and assisting professionals) understand and agree to the same process. This concept of "informed consent to the process" permeates the ADR movement. Also common to the ADR processes is the concept of creating a settlement event, some shared experience that increases the likelihood of resolution. All ADR processes have the following effects:

  • they motivate the parties and any representatives to fasten their attention the case and prepare for resolution;
  • the parties have "their day in court," a "hearing" in which they have the opportunity to present their perspectives on the situation and their sense of a "fair" resolution;
  • often for the first time, the parties have the opportunity to experience a capable presentation of the other side's case; and
  • the parties have a window of opportunity to identify common interests and points of agreement, and the opportunity to fashion mutually acceptable settlement options to disputed issues. 

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